Choosing the Right Air Filter For Your Jacksonville Home

Trying to select the right air filter for your the U.S. home can be a daunting experience. What does my system require? Is the more expensive products worth the investment? These are just a few of the questions that make purchasing air filters for your home mind-boggling. Let Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing try to help you de-mystify the air filter dilemma. 
 
Here’s a tried and true way to determine how efficient your existing filter is (NOTE: Do this outdoors or with something below the filter so you don’t end up with a mess): Hold the filter horizontally, then taking everyday table salt, pour the salt through the filter then see the quantity that comes out the other side. If some or all the salt falls through the filter, then you can imagine that the filter will let dust that same size flow through. You might want to upgrade your filter to an air filter that’s more efficient. 
 
Size, MERV rating and material – these are the three primary factors used to pick the proper air filter for your home. 

1) Filter Size 

Size is the easiest factor to ascertain. Simply look at the label of your existing filter to see the dimensions, or just measure it yourself. Typically home air filters are 1” thick, but there are a variety of standard width and height dimensions, and some systems have thicker filters. 

2) Material & MERV Rating 

The efficiencies of filters are rated on a scale of 16, known as MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This number informs the user, under the least efficient conditions, how well the filter is designed to capture contaminants. 
 
To help explain the scale of this system, these are some typical MERV ratings and how they relate to efficiencies. This is only a guide, so make sure you read the filter manufacturers’ information when shopping for specific filters. 

Rating Average Filtration Efficiency 

MERV 1-4 60-80% 
Fiberglass, Disposable Panel, Washable metal/synthetic, self-charging (Passive) 
 
MERV 5-8 80-95% 
Pleated, Media panel, Cube 
 
MERV 9-12 >95% 
Extended pleated 
 
MERV 13-16 >98% 
Electronic 

Be Careful About High MERV Ratings 

While a higher MERV number may ensure better filtration efficiency, it is critical to understand that too high a MERV filter may also require more to operate your HVAC system. The higher the MERV, the more restricted the air may flow through the system, and the harder the system may need to work. Your objective should be to get the right balance between air flow, air filtration level and energy efficiency. 
 
Look at it this way, the most efficient ‘filter’ would probably be a piece of plywood that prevents ALL contaminants and all the air from entering your the U.S. home. That’s maximum air filtration, but would also be like living in a box. 
 
The default choice for most systems would be a MERV 6-8. A higher MERV filter should be used based upon the advice of your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing technician to ensure your system has the capability of moving the proper amount of air through higher efficiency filters. You normally do not want to sacrifice energy-efficiency for filter efficiency; you want a balance of the two. However, if your family deals with allergies or respiratory problems and a high MERV rated filter is required, consider a whole-home air filtration solution that will achieve your energy and filter efficiency needs. 
 
Filtration has changed considerably over the past few years. Originally, home air filters were used in the furnace or air handler only to protect the comfort equipment itself. But (in the words of Bob Dylan) the times they are a changing. the U.S. area homeowners expect their air filter to save loved ones from a a growing list of harmful pollutants, dust mites, and even prevent the need for dusting. Dare to dream! 

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